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Rockville HR director’s departure questioned


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Published on: Thursday, June 21, 2012

By Christa Puccio

ROCKVILLE – Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said she is angry with the way the city handled the resignation of Carlos Vargas, the chief of the Department of Human Resources, and he may have violated his contract by not giving a 30-day written notice upon his resignation.

According to previously undisputed reports published in The Sentinel, Vargas quit on June 1 and issued his resignation to Acting City Manager Jennifer Kimball on May 11 – clearly less than 30 days notice.

 “I have had a very firm and confidential conversation with the acting city manager with the process that was used, and I indicated that I was not satisfied with the process,” said Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio.   “It does take a majority of the council to do more than just converse about it.”

According to Marylou Berg, communications director for the City of Rockville, department directors are not governed by the policy and procedures provisions for division head-level employees, but are instead governed by the provisions of their contracts.

Vargas’ contract was written by Catherine Tuck Parrish, a deputy city manager, on April 23, 2007.  It was signed by Vargas and Parrish, but not Scott Ullery, the city manager at the time.  She attached to the contract a copy of the contract terms for contract employees, which “articulates provisions that apply to [Vargas] as a department head.”

According to that contract and also a memorandum sent to Vargas by Ullery on May 7, 2010 which included contract terms, “An executive employee’s employment with the city may be terminated either by the city manager or the employee with 30 days written notice by either party… An executive employee who resigns from city employment shall provide the city manager with written notification thereof at least 30 days prior to the effective date of resignation.”

“As spokesperson for the City of Rockville, Ms. Berg has the responsibility of getting facts straight and not providing false or contradictory information to Rockville citizens,” said Drew Powell, a civic activist.  “As MPIA requests have established, Mr. Vargas was required under his employment contract to give 30 days’ written notice, in order to leave in good standing, which in turn would have guaranteed his exit benefits.”

Berg said the city manager has the authority to determine an appropriate departure date for a department director who leaves the City and “in accordance with his contract, Mr. Vargas is eligible for all employee benefits.”

Powell disagreed.  “If Ms. Berg was unable to understand the language of Mr. Vargas’ employment contract, she should have asked the City Attorney for an interpretation and then provided accurate information to the public,” said Powell.  “Given the depth of the ongoing employee mistreatment scandal, providing false or misleading information may cause some to wonder if this and other behaviors constitute an intentional cover-up.”

While the acting city manager has authority over the department directors, the mayor and council have authority over the acting city manager.  The mayor explained it would take a 3-2 vote in order to take any action against the acting city manager for any of her actions, and that it has not been discussed in a meeting among council members if the Mayor and Council will vote on any action against the acting city manager. 

“We have not had a meeting that involves this discussion,” said Marcuccio.  “When we’ve discussed personnel, it’s been to get that new city manager in place.  That’s our focus, and that’s what it continues to be.  I’m hoping we have a resolution within the next week or two.  I think the logical procedure will be to put her back into her assistant manager position and see if the city manager sees her in that position.”


http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Clerk9-22

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Evans11-17-11

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Evans11-24-11

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Clerk12-1-11

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Clerk2-16-12

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Clerk3-1-12

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Rose3-29-12

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/RockvilleComplaint

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Rockville4-12-12

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Rockville4-19-12

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Rockville4-26-12

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Rockville5-3-12

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Flaherty5-10-12

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Search/Rockville5-17-12

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/ROCKVILLEHR

http://www.thesentinel.com/mont/Rockville6-14-12 

Reader Comments - 5 Total

captcha d810e66eee7444fc896fd9f1686e11ae

Posted By: Shocked Employee On: 6/27/2012

Title: You Have To Be Kidding

The Mayor and Council are simply going to turn the other cheek! No discipline. Instead, a reward. “…the logical procedure will be to put her back into her assistant manager position…”
If this isn’t important enough for the Mayor and Council to discuss, what type of violation is important enough to discuss?

Posted By: ROCKVILLE VOTER On: 6/24/2012

Title: ELECTION TIME

The "focus" of all Rockville voters should be to vote the current Mayor and Council out of office.

Posted By: CONCERNED CITIZEN On: 6/22/2012

Title: CONFUSED

WHY IS IT THAT NO ONE HAS MENTION ANYTHING ABOUT BURT HALL/ WASN'T HE A DIRECTOR?? DID HE TURN IN A 30 DAY NOTICE??. IT LOOK'S LIKE TO ME THAT THE CITY IS GETTING RID OF ALL THE DIRECTORS THAT THESE COMPLAINTS ARE CONCERNING BEFORE THE INVESTIGATORS GET IN HOUSE. I MIGHT BE WRONG/ BUT WHO WILL THEY INVESTIGATE NOW??

Posted By: T. Johnson On: 6/22/2012

Title: Good for you Mayor!

“I have had a very firm and confidential conversation with the acting city manager with the process that was used, and I indicated that I was not satisfied with the process,” said Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio. “It does take a majority of the council to do more than just converse about it.”
Sounds like someone got scolded..LOL
Now we are getting somewhere. What gall on the part of Kimball to completely ignore the mayor and council, and not inform them immediately when Vargas resigned. Now we citizens clearly see the seeds that Ullery planted in Rockville.
The same level of contempt and disrespect he would show the mayor and council is now part of the operating policy in the city. You can bet your bottom dollar that Ullery would have had Kimball's head if she pulled the same stunt with him.
How can there be trust between the mayor and council and top levels of management after this circus plays out?
I really want to know how Kimball, Flaherty, Swift, and Berg can be retained after all the facts are in.
What the citizens clearly want is change in Rockville and a new management style that promotes growth and treats each employee on a fair playing field.
Hear this all you management clones of Genghis Khan , each of you works for us the taxpayers, and each of you will be held accountable for your actions.
To make it simple for you idiots to understand here is the bottom line pertaining to what is left of your reign of terror.
As Donald Trump would say..... YO'UR FIRED! Now that would be priceless.
The City of Rockville makes the antics of the DC council seem tame and under control. Now that is not something to be proud of.

Posted By: Mr. Morton On: 6/22/2012

Title: Same sad song

Well it is clearly time for this rendition of the Song Remains The Same to come to a end.
How embarrassing for members of the mayor and council to find out about the departure of Mr. Vargas weeks after he resigned. Reading the comments made in the Rockville Patch posted by our two infamous council members Mark and Tom, I suggest these players were informed weeks prior to the Mayor and council members Newton and Hall.
To defend the actions of Mr. Vargas is reprehensible and shows a complete disconnect from reality.
Ms. Berg in private industry you would be fired for your statements.
Ms. Kimball, I really do not know where to start with you, so I shall refrain from commenting at this time because I am so darn mad.
Change is needed at city hall and for any of these abusive managers to remain cannot be allowed.




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